FEBRUARY 12, 1943
WASHINGTON, Thursday—Yesterday afternoon, Mrs. Henry Morgenthau, Jr., and I walked over to the Department of Agriculture, where the "Clothes Clinic" was giving an exhibition in the beautiful patio. This was sponsored jointly by the Treasury Bond Sales and the Department of Agriculture. The combination is easy to understand because, if you learn to use old materials and make over old clothes, you have more money to put into War Savings Bonds and Stamps.
Mrs. M. L. Wilson, wife of the Director of the Extension Service, is the moving spirit in the "clothes clinic." We enjoyed the dress parade, which lasted for nearly an hour. None of the models were very old, but they were fat and thin, and some were very young. A little four-year-old boy proudly showed off a suit made out of his father's suit, and, to my amazement, very smartly dressed ladies appeared in suits made from their husband's trousers and coats.
I must say I thought the very thin and young were the most encouraging models, but that is true even when you buy brand new clothes. There were two young girls who bought new material and who made themselves two of the loveliest coats I have ever seen. Mrs. Wilson insists that any woman can become a good dressmaker or tailor if she will just come and learn. Think how much money we might all save if we did!
Last evening I met with a group of members of the Newspaper Guild and had a very pleasant time in getting to my destination on a street car. I almost lost my way again and thought I was going to be very late. However, I found that I was not the only person a little uncertain about Washington geography.
Some people have written me in surprise, that I should advocate young people leaving school before they finish their high school courses. Of course, I do not advocate anything of the kind. I know that in many places young people have left high school because they are bored by what they are doing. I doubt very much if there is any use in any young person staying in high school, unless the education offered excites their curiosity and spurs them on to do really hard work.
My criticism is that too often in our educational system we do not give young people enough individual attention and, therefore, do not adapt their studies to their needs. Instead of developing young people, this has a stultifying effect. Any criticism is of some of our teaching methods, but I believe in the value of high school education and would like to see us extend free higher education to all those showing ability and willingness to work.